Three egg whites contain only 50 calories, are almost pure protein (and a very complete one at that), and contain no fat or cholesterol. They serve an entirely different function from egg yolks in the cooking process. The latter act as fat and, to a lesser degree, as protein to enrich, thicken and emulsify mixtures, and add color and flavor. Unfortunately, egg yolks are high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation.
Egg whites, however, take in air when beaten and trap the bubbles. When heated, the protein coagulates to help cakes, for example, rise while baking. The whites also serve as a binder and thickener in the cooking process.
If you're watching cholesterol and fat intake, you can substitute two egg whites for one whole egg for up to half the eggs in an omelet. In other recipes, try substituting two egg whites plus 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil for each whole egg. Of course, this doesn't lower the overall fat content much, but it does significantly reduce the cholesterol and saturated fat in a dish.
Beaten egg whites form the basis for some delicious and healthy desserts, such as meringue and angel food cake. Take care when you're beating eggs; even the slightest trace of fat from the yolk or on your utensils can keep your egg whites stiffening. To make sure your bowl and other utensils are grease-free, wipe them off with a paper towel moistened with vinegar or lemon juice. Also, use only the freshest possible egg whites, and let them come to room temperature before you beat them. A good hint, however: Separate the eggs when they're cold because the yolk is firmer and less likely to break.
Don't beat your egg whites in advance. Then start slowly; once the eggs are foamy, gradually increase the speed of the whisk or the mixer. Adding sugar or cream of tartar to egg whites makes them more stable. If you are in a quandary about what to do with leftover yolks, why not hard-cook them (as if poaching them) and feed them to your cat or dog? It does wonders for their coats. You can also crumble hard-cooked yolks and set them in a bird feeder. This is guaranteed to make you popular with your feathered friends. Here's a recipe for Cocoa-Mint Kisses that will make you popular with your other friends. Cocoa-Mint Kisses2 large egg whites, at room temperature 1/2 cup of sugar 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. In a small bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. One tablespoon at a time, beat in 6 tablespoons of the sugar; each spoonful of sugar should be completely dissolved and incorporated before you add the next. Continue beating until soft peaks form (when you lift the beater, the peaks bend slightly). In a cup, stir together the cocoa powder and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. One tablespoon at a time, beat this mixture into the batter. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts, and beat until stiff peaks form (when you lift the beater the peaks should be stiff, shiny and smooth with rounded tops).
Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 45 minutes or until the kisses are firm on the outside. Carefully transfer the kisses to a rack to cool completely; store in an airtight container. This recipe makes 24 kisses, each of which has only 18 calories, no fat, no cholesterol and only 5 mg of sodium. Of course they have no vitamins or other redeeming nutrients, either, but they are delicious. Sheldon Margen, M.D., is a professor of public health at the University of California at Berkeley. Dale A. Ogar is managing editor of the University of California at Berkeley "Wellness Letter." They are the authors of "Wellness Kitchen Cookbook," "The Simply Healthy Lowfat Cookbook," "The Wellness Lowfat Cookbook" and "The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition."
Source: Health & Wellness